Rackstraw Downes: “I am a Painter”
Audio from Rackstraw Downes’ March 20, 2011 talk at the Crowley Theater.
Rackstraw Downes was born in England in 1939. He received a B.A. in English Literature from Cambridge University in 1961 and his M.F.A. in Painting at Yale in 1964. He currently divides his time between New York and West Texas. He has had solo shows in New York at Kornblee; Hirschl & Adler Modern; Marlborough; Robert Miller; and Betty Cunningham galleries. His work is represented in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Institute; Hirshhorn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art; Nelson-Atkins Museum; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1979, Downes edited Art in Its Own Terms, Selected Criticism 1935–1975 by Fairfield Porter. In 2000, Downes published In Relation to the Whole: Three Essays from Three Decades – 1973, 1981, 1996 (Edgewise Press) and Under the Gowanus and Razor-Wire Journal: The Making of Two Paintings (Turning the Head Press). In 2005 Princeton University Press published Rackstraw Downes by Sanford Schwartz, Robert Storr, and Rackstraw Downes. Downes received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1998, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999, and became a MacArthur (Genius) Fellow in 2009. In 2010–11 Dowes mounted solo exhibitions at the Parish Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.